Officials say ammonia leaks don’t cause deaths or evacuations THAT often. Um, yay?


Dear Port of New Orleans:

As much as we love you, we feel obligated to point out that articles like this one from the Times-Picayune probably aren’t the best way to inspire confidence in the public–especially when that public is already skeptical of your plan to sandwich an ammonia-filled industrial wonderland between two of Louisiana’s most important historic neighborhoods, the French Quarter and the Faubourg Marigny. Skim the first couple of paragraphs, and let us know if you can see the problem here:

Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter residents are concerned that the ammonia used to refrigerate a proposed cold-storage warehouse on the Gov. Nicholls Street Wharf will pose a public health risk, but experts say the chance of a chemical leak is slim if proper safety measures are in place.

“You can stop most of these incidents before they have a chance to be a major challenge if you have the right equipment and personnel,” said Gary Smith, president and founder of the Ammonia Safety Training Institute in Washington, D.C. “If it’s just cold storage, the ammonia stays in the refrigeration if good prevention habits are in place.” [Emphasis totally mine]

–plenty more ifs, ands, and buts in the full article at

Statements like that are kinda like saying, “No, hurricanes aren’t a problem for New Orleans, if the levees hold, and if federal, state, and city governments are prepared, and if the city’s evacuation strategy works like a charm. You know, if all that’s good, then we should be fine. Probably.” Do you see what I’m doing there? Right.

And a quick reminder: those of us who live here aren’t opposed to your project, just its location. Heck, your puppet minion buddy Jindal just shaved bejillions of bucks from higher ed, mental hospitals, and the like–surely he can throw a few at the Cold Storage project so it can move downriver just a tad? That would be the right thing to do, karmically speaking. (NB: Confused by karma? Ask Bobby.)

Anyway, thanks for listening. You were listening, weren’t you? …Hello?

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